Apple debuts HomePod speaker to bring Siri into the living room

Randall Padilla
June 7, 2017

Apple will launch HomePod in December and the device will cost $349, it will come in two colors, Space Gray and White and it is launching in Australia, the United States and UK, you can find out more details at the link below. Sales seem to be taking off, and you can see why Apple is keen to get into this area as smartphone sales plateau. The new iPad starts at $649 and will start shipping next week. Besides playing music, Apple's Siri digital assistant will also respond to requests for information and other help around the house. It also combats the competitive threat from Google's and Amazon's connected speakers: Those don't support Apple services like Apple Music, which brings in US$10 in revenue per user each month. "[And] You can even ask more complex, music-related questions like 'Who's the drummer in this song?' or 'What album came out on this day 20 years ago?'"

HomePod and its Siri will be available in black or white. Apple instead suggested that we should compare the HomePod against the cost of quality Wi-Fi speakers, which are $300 to $500, plus the $50 to $200 cost of a smart speaker. The company said it will ship it to more global markets in 2018. If you already have an Amazon Echo and a Sonos speaker, there would really not have been anything new for you to gain from Apple's HomePod announcement.

Apple has given Siri new male and female voices, described as more natural and expressive, and added abilities such as translating English phrases into Chinese, French, German, Italian or Spanish.

Beyond the hardware and price, the real competition will ultimately boil down to how powerful each product's respective virtual assistants are, which also has implications beyond just this product category. The company will also be offering its updated 12.9 inch iPad Pro (64 GB) at $799. On the portable side, MacBooks are also being upgraded.

New iMacs unveiled Monday at Apple's annual conference for software programmers are getting better displays and graphics capabilities.

It has six built-in microphones - allowing users to control it from across a room.

The App Store has been redesigned for better navigation with a How To section for tips on how to use various apps.

Mac models were also boosted to work with virtual reality gear, a move by Apple into technology that Facebook has embraced with its Oculus unit. Popular apps, such as Pokémon Go and SnapChat, can use ARKit for improved real-time renders. Siri was originally developed at SRI International as part of a DARPA-funded artificial intelligence project called CALO (Cognitive Assistant that Learns and Organizes) and spun out as a startup; Apple purchased it in 2010.

High Sierra will be released later this year as a free update, according to Federighi.

Apple WWDC continues through June 9.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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